Sunday, February 14, 2010


It was bound to happen eventually. This time around SWIG favored the wines that the price tags and prestige of area designations dictated we ought to. We could credit it to the Italian system of classifying wines, but are a little too worldly-wise to believe that about Italy. However it happened we tasted two good Lange DOC Nebbiolos, a very good DOCG Barbaresco, and an excellent DOCG Barolo. At any rate the wine gods smiled on us, and we are thankful.

The food was, appropriate to the tarry-flowery-tannic aggression of Nebbiolo, grilled New York strip steaks, sided with grilled asparagus and portabella mushrooms drizzled with truffle oil, plated on a bed of arugula. Thanks to the forum community at for suggesting pairings. Now on with the SWIG notes!

(4th Place) Cantina Del Pino 2006 Nebbiolo Langhe DOC, $22. This respectable wine got out-classed by more serious bottles. Fruit forward and acidic, the Cantina Del Pino was loaded with bright strawberry and raspberry rounded out with a little clove spice and mineral. Still clearly Nebbiolo with some characteristic grippiness, it was the lightest, shortest and simplest of the bunch -- not at all bad but a bit like riding a rollercoaster without any big initial drop. We stood in line for Nebbiolo, thanks very much.

(3rd Place) Filippo Gallino 2007 Nebbiolo Langhe DOC, $20. A very nice bottle of wine, one taster (the one typing at the moment) ranked this a closely contested first place. Consensus was very clear though that Filippo Gallino made the night’s third best wine. Bright crimson, sparkling clear and somewhat more (big California) Pinot like than the two wines that followed, we enjoyed aromas of sugary cherries, raspberry, roses, tar, vanilla, cedar and warm spice. In the mouth it was a little short and a little hot, but, to an extent, it lengthened and tempered with some air. It tasted earthier than it smelled and finished with a not unpleasant touch of citrus rind.

(2nd Place) Giribaldi 2005 Barbaresco DOCG, $30. The Nebbiolo cup runner up went to our wine representing the Barbaresco region. Nearly perfectly typical of the high quality wines of its DOC, the Giribaldi was softer than the (upcoming) Barolo, loaded with tar, flowers and candied fruit on the nose. A little Chinese spice and vanilla also kept things interesting. It drank fruity and finished mid-long and tannic, with the right dose of acid to keep harmonic balanced. When the votes were tallied this wine got a first, three seconds and a third, showing that it clearly deserved its place toward the top. Please also note that when SWIG got down to eating this was the best food wine of the bunch, though the top three all worked just fine with the steaks.

(Wine of the Night) Principiano 2001 Barolo DOCG, $55. We’ll award a wine of the night this time around because most tasters called the Principiano number one and those that didn’t ranked it second. That’s clear enough for SWIG to break out the WOTN award. The king of Nebbiolos, it is said, comes from the Barolo region. We don’t know about regal but this Barolo was certainly powerful! Showing considerable bricking from its long barrel aging, the nose was deeply layered with blackberry, saddle leather, musty earth, potpourri, savory herbs, mushroom, tea, and sandalwood. On the palate it was lighter-bodied and smoother than one might expect, but mightily grippy and tarry. This is a wine with not only a long finish but (seemingly) a long start and mid-mouth too, stretching its distinct aromatic aspects across your palate and back again. A lovely and powerful Barolo, and if not cheap certainly more than willing to stand up and give you something for your hard earned dollars.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


[reminder:, SWIG tastes double-blind. We brown bag and randomly number the whole flight, and individual taster only know the identity of one label before the reveal, the bottle she/he brought]

In this installment SWIG tasted American Syrahs. The meal was scaled back from the last meeting’s decadence; we enjoyed cheeses, lentil stew with lamb, and a sweet potato tart for dessert. All of the wines were palatable and matched nicely with the food.

Before the meal and reveal we ranked the flight of Syrahs, which fell into four tiers.

The following wines tied for equal 4th place. Both were clean, easy drinking wines that we wouldn’t be shy about serving to guests. Interestingly these were the two youngest wines of the flight – maybe a few more years of bottle age would have leveled the playing field?

Xumek 2008 Syrah, San Juan (Argentina) $16. This wine had the lowest aromatics of the group, and plenty of the green tannin typical of South American over-cropping. It was soft with a short finish but balanced and lighter-bodied so food-friendly. Aromas: currant, plum, green pepper, anise, black pepper.

Beckman 2007 Syrah, Santa Ynez Valley, $24. SWIG likes Beckman wines. The 07 Santa Ynez Syrah is biodynamic, showing blueberries, brown/burnt sugar, leather, smoke, dried fruit, and raisin. Compared to some other Beckman wines this one is a bit of a wan effort, soft but tannic with low aromatics, and a little sulfur on the nose. A couple of year will likely help.

Third place went to:

Rosenblum 2005 Syrah, Vintners Cuvee, $15. A lot to like here for 15 dollars, if a little bit over-engineered and seemingly mass produced. The nose was dominated by perfumey potpourri, backed up by jammy raspberry, blackberry, and black pepper. The palate was a bit overly astringent and out of balance. This is not the type of wine to hold on to in hopes that it corrects itself, but definitely a palatable bottle if you are shopping at Trader Joes.

The next two wines scored equal 2nd place. Both were very good, and the Three Rivers an excellent QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) wine to boot:

Lagier Meredith 2004 Syrah, Mt. Veeder, $49. Lagier Meredith is probably the most prestigious label SWIG has tasted to date, at least from the new world. It can rightly be called a fancy wine; this bottle is one of a “vertical” (set of contiguous vintages) donated by Lagier Meredith last year to the charity Auction Napa Valley. The highest acid wine of the tasting, this '04 was built to develop bottle-age character, and had already added some (not unpleasant) musty mushroomy notes to its bitter cherry, raspberry, red currant, and black pepper. It drank a little hot, and had noticeable volatile acidity (a slight acetone smell), but also had a richness of character that one might expect of a bottle this pricey.

Three Rivers Winery 2005 Syrah, $18. Three Rivers '05 Syrah, on the other hand, was a simpler bottle, but cleaner too, with clear flavors of tart cherry, currant jam, butterscotch, vanilla, cloves, tobacco, and leather. Full-bodied, expertly oaked and well balanced, it summarized nicely all that is right with syrah in Washington state. Not a remember for months afterward bottle, this Syrah nevertheless was well worth the price of admission. In the blind rankings it scored the same as the Lagier Meredith.

And, finally, the runaway winner wine of the night. Haven’s '04 Napa Syrah scored first place with all tasters save for one who narrowly placed it second:

Haven’s Winery 2004 Syrah, Napa Valley, $15. To the displeasure of devotees of this Napa local’s institution, Haven’s Winery is in receivership and being liquidated by the conglomerate that purchased it a few years back. The silver lining is that the remaining stock of all of their excellent wines is being retailed at closeout prices. We picked up this bottle for $15, half off MSRP. The tasting notes we compiled suggest a wine made in the style of an Old World Northern Rhone Syrah: forest floor, cedar, leather, bacon fat, walnuts, black pepper, ripe cherry and plum, and even a little Band-Aidy brettanomyces (which works quite nicely in this bottle). All that, impeccable balance and distinctly rich Napa-style fruit too. If you can find a bottle give it a lot of air; it needs it. Three hours is not too long to decant. Great stuff -- too bad they've gone out of business.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


What a great set of wines SWIG tasted this time around! Zinfandel is the most American of the major varietals. Like jazz it draws its inspiration from overseas traditions, but is unmistakably born and representative of American (wine) culture. Californian growers and winemakers are really excelling at Zinfandel a short 40 years into its history as a grape vinified with the intent of producing fine wine.The reasonably priced set of wines we tasted represented itself well, for the most part, and characterized Zinfandel in its broadest stylistic manifestations.

Our host raised the bar by breaking out his jumbo-sized Le Creuset and braising beef short ribs. The rest of SWIG pitched in with a medley of works-with-braised sides. I won’t go into detail, but suffice to say no squash, brussel sprout, or rich cheese was spared. Roast pears and brown sugar ice cream insured that no one got out without an extra pound or two.

SWIG now officially rejects the 100 point rating system. Instead we’ll just tell you how the wines ranked relative to one another and what we thought of them.

(Last Place) Seven Deadly Zins 2007 Zinfandel, $17. Sometimes respectable wines get out classed by better bottles. This is not the case with Seven Deadly Zins. It can be described, in a word, as smokey. And not lilting, complex, high-toned gateway to the rest of the flavors smokey. More like did someone pour a teaspoon of liquid smoke into this at bottling smokey? Smokey was the sole descriptor at which anyone arrived. The smoke doesn’t blow off, doesn’t compliment other flavors , and probably wouldn’t even pair well with smoked meat. This is bad wine and you shouldn’t buy it if you have a nose and taste buds.

(4th Place) Nalle 2006 Dry Creek Zinfandel, $29. The Nalle, by contrast, is a solid bottle of wine. One taster ranked it first on the night, citing some gamey character and bright, clean acid in its favor. Several tasters got some citrus notes from the Nalle -- somewhat odd for a red wine -- along with sour cherries, saddle, tobacco and green olive. It was praised for crispness and balance, demerited for a very short finish and maybe a bit of brett. This Zin is quite similar to the night’s winner (below) in that it is good food wine; different in that it is a little more complicated and quirky. If that appeals, and you want a wine to drink with a meal, this is a great choice.

(3rd Place) Seghesio 2007 Sonoma Zinfandel, $24. The final three wines clustered tightly at the top of the pack, separated by perhaps an insignificant margin. The Seghesio earn 93 points from a major wine mag and a place near the top of their 100 best wines of the year. Though we would have felt a little counter-wine-culture pride if we’d seen it differently, we liked it too. A little alcoholic on the nose, it is a relatively big wine and simple yet well-layered with ripe fruit (raspberry, blueberry, blackberry liquor) and flowery spice notes (potpourri, vanilla, cinnamon) nicely balanced against one another. Without enough acid to be rightly called a good food wine, and just a little acetone note that one taster found objectionable, there are reasons to fault it. But the overall impression is one of smooth balance and deep flavors, and it is no wonder it sold out quickly after high praise in the wine media.

(2nd Place) Storybook Mountain 2007 Mayacamas Zinfandel, $35. Storybook’s Zins are routinely paler than the norm, lighter-bodied and somewhat harshly acidic when young. But they have a lot of stuffing and are built to age well, which they often do. This 2003 certainly did, displaying strong, distinct, intense aromas that came one after the other in waves: jammy blackberry, bing cherry, plum, raisin, chocolate, menthol, anise, tobacco, clove, earth, and so on. Tastes mirrored the aromas, with tasters doing a lot of underlining descriptors like smooth, deep, concentrated and loooong. The only real knock came when we eagerly poured this wine with food. To the groups’ surprise the wine was basically undrinkable with our meal; it both overpowered our strongly-flavor faire and went flabby in response to the food’s richness. But before and after dinner it was a Californian interpretation of a good Barolo.

(Wine of the Night) Ridge 2007 Three Valleys Zinfandel, $20. When the votes were tallied and it came time to reveal, we were just a little surprised to find the Three Valleys was the last bottle standing, having just nosed the Storybook Mountain. But then again this wine gave us what wine-drinkers have come to expect from Ridge: balance, versatility and palpable quality. We got a mildly-expressive nose of dried cherry, brambly berries, stemmy woodiness and pepper. It drank light, smoothly tannic and nicely acidic, with peppery soy notes on the surprisingly long finish. While this Ridge isn’t and never will be the pride of any collector’s cellar, it is a 20 dollar supermarket bottle you can hand to even the most wine-saavy host with confidence it will be appreciated. It is emblematic of everything good about the restrained style of Zinfandel making that Ridge rightly can be said to have pioneered in Californian in the 1970’s.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


At our latest get together SWIG tasted Rieslings while feasting on MOUNTAINS of amazing ahi poke in not one but two delicious flavors. Thanks to the hosting swigsters for going above and beyond!

After tallying the results, we decided the five blind-tasted Rieslings should be divided into two delicious flavors too, dry and off-dry. Next month’s wild and wooly Zinfandels will engage in a first-wine-empty battle royale, but this month’s gentlepersonly Reislings fought in their prospective weight classes.


(86 points) Longshadows 2008 Poet’s Leap, $20.
Setting the lowest rung of the ladder high, Washington State’s Poet’s Leap Reisling put in a respectable showing. The most citrus-driven wine of the tasting, this one’s notes were mostly fruit-bowl references: lemon, green apple, pear, pineapple and peach. Tasters reported the lightest body of the tasting, a slight touch of spice and stone, and a tiny bit of fresh effervescence. Last year’s 2007 Poet’s Leap showed more classic old-world Reisling complexity and terroir, so if you can find it we recommend it over the 2008. But general speaking the 2008 Poet’s Leap is a worthy buy and a more than adequate glass.

(88 points) Leitz 2007 Eins Zwei Dry, $16. Cute name and a quality wine? You don’t see that too often! The nose here, too, was quite lemony, but also underwritten by some funkier earthiness. In the mouth this one evoked citrus, spice, cut grass, and stone. Tasters liked the light, bright and acidic nature of this German wine – it went very nicely with the fresh raw fish and soft cheeses and was probably the best food wine of the bunch. The 2007 Eins Zwei Dry is a happy tablemate to make your tablemates happy.

(89 points) Valckenberg 2007 Undone, $12. 2007 Undone Riesling, another wine from the Rhine, is the reason we taste blind. At some large retailers like Target it can be had for under 10 dollars, and frankly if someone put the (second-of-the-tasting cutesy) bottle in front of me I’d turn up my nose. But tasted blind it finished first with all female tasters, and didn’t come in last with any of the guys. We noted that it was a bit softer than the other two dry Reislings, with aromas and tastes of flowers, citrus, ginger, mint, cayenne, and even a little not-unpleasant kerosene. Don’t expect a 40 dollar boutique bottle, but buy it without reservation next time you are stuck in the big box hinterlands looking for a palatable white.


(88 points) Leitz 2007 Rüdesheimer Magdalenenkreuz Riesling Spätlese, $18. The tasters split at this session of SWIG, half preferring the dry Rieslings, the rest slightly sweeter, lower alcohol (around 8%)off-dries. Among those preferring the off-dry wines Leitz 2007 Spatlese ran a close second in a two-horse contest. Citrus-driven like the wines above, this Leitz but provided a more complex set of complementary aromas and tastes: melon, grass, orange blossom, sweet mint, a little menthol. One can justly criticize it as being a little cloying and flabby, but a few tasting notes on the internet claim this flaw fades after several days open. Maybe, then, this is one for cellaring 4 or 5 years? At $18 it’s a worthy buy-and-hold if you’ve got the place and space.

(89 points) Carl Loewen 2007 Kabinett Leiwener Klostergarten, $20. The winner of the off-dry category was a Kabinett, which means it is a wine made with less sugary juice than the Spätlese above. This Carl Loewen is also the only German wine we tasted from the Mosel valley, not the Rhine. It provided the most clear, classic representation of the Riesling grape’s potential palate, showing a balanced, round profile of apricot, passion fruit, grapefruit, honey, grass, flower, spice, wax and fuel. The finish was a little short, but the wine showed good acidity that carried it powerful flavors very nicely and so might promise a bit more length after a few years in the basement. If you want a good quality wine that shows what off-dry Reisling is all about, this one won’t disappoint.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


SWIG assembled for our second blind tasting, this time of Pinot Noir. We "worked" our way through 5 bottles, accompanied by some great artisanal cheeses, an array of artisanal chocolates from Seattle's own Theo chocolate maker, and other tasty eats that may or may not have been made by artisans.

The Pinots we sampled were roundly good to excellent. In light of this we won't award a "wine of the night" this month; though a consensus favorite did emerge it did not stand head and shoulders ahead of the rest. We count ourselves as lucky, because let's face it: Pinot Noir is a gamble. It is hard to grow, hard to make, and can be inconsistent (read, suck) at 40 bucks a bottle the way a Cabernet might be at $15.

(80 points) Slaviyanski Cellar 2007 Pinot Noir, $11. This Pinot was the odd duck of the group, and while generally not loved it was certainly interesting to parse next to the much more varietally true competition. Color was highly-extracted and very dark purple. The wine had aromas if dried plummy fruit, cooked fruit apply fruit, cinnamon, a little must and lactobacillus. Tastes were similar and quite soft and round with low apparent acidity.

In total this is not a regular expression of Pinot Noir. It seemed to be either A) a variant vine like pinotage; B) macerated in a heated process (which is common in Eastern Europe), leading to
deep color and cooked flavors; C) encouraged to a very complete malolactic fermentation (thus the softness and residual lactobacillus; or D) some combination of the three. SWIG says buy a Bulgarian wine some time to check out the region style. Maybe not this one, though overall it was drinkable if not able to compete with the rest of the Pinots.

(84 Points) Joseph Drouhin 2005 Cote De Beaune Villages, $20. The next Pinot Noir was a Burgundian table wine, built very much in the old-world style. It didn't quite run with the next three, nor was it intended too. The lightest in color and body of the group, this wine incorporated more acid and minerality than its peers, against a backdrop of sour cherry, strawberry, and earth and herbs.

Relatively simple, light, good quality and versatile with food -- plenty to like here at the bottom of the Droughin ladder. If you want a little more punch than a low-end Burgundy Pinot offers, you'll prefer one of the next three.

(89 points) Scott Paul 2006 "Le Paulee" Willamette Valley, $39. Clustered tightly with the top three wines of evening, the 2006 "Le Paulee" defines a solid, refined Oregon Pinot. Tasters noted its complexity: aromas of raspberry, cheery, orange, flowers, perfume, a little vanilla and raisin. It had slight sherry and fuel-type tones in the way good Pinots can. We liked its clean acid, balance and medium weight body. Opening up considerably as we drank, another hour of decanting and this wine very well might have caught up to the wines finishing above it.

SWIG recommends this wine is general, and particular as a wine to pair with a meal. This one has the virtue of eminent drinkability -- while the next wine on our list wowed us with luscious, clear, pungent flavors, the "Le Paulee" is a wine that you could drink all night without palate fatigue.

(91 points) Stag Hollow 2006 Pinot Noir, Yamhill, $26. On a different end of the spectrum from the Scott Paul, the stag Hollow Pinot was a big, opulent, luxurious Oregon Pinot, featuring a great first taste of typical Pinot fruits and bitter herbs; a clear, clean, oak-induced mid-palate, and long, sweet, herby finish. This wine had lots of mouth-coating body. It was in a few words big and powerful, though not nearly a giant Aussie Shiraz, and certainly much too well-balanced to be labeled a fruit-bomb.

One taster noted that this one was delicious but after a glass might start wear thin on subtlety; another that it's punchy flavors and slightly low acid could overwhelm or fail to cut through the wrong food pairings. Outside of these concerns the wine impressed and certain made an impression -- if you aren't the shy type this wine will suit you fine.

(94 points) Picardy 2005 Pinot Noir, $29. The consensus, if not runaway. favorite was Picardy, a complex, balanced, Western-Aussie Pinot leaning toward a higher-end Burgundian style with plenty of fruit. (Pleasant) barnyard smells on first opening blew off with a few hours of aeration, opening into a balanced, very complex and varietally true Pinot Noir. Tasters noted a wide range of aromas and flavors: forward red fruits, currant, apricot, lemon peel, orange blossom, herbs, tar, smoke, earth, spice, vanilla, and nuts, all cleanly integrated with a fairly long finish.

Playing Goldilocks to the previous two pinots, the Picardy came across as both big and refined. This one has the versatility to match next to all food types and drink well as a stand alone sipper. It drinks like you spent 70 bucks on a Cru Burgundy and knew which one would taste the least like dirt. A big-shot critic gave it 95 points and we agree that this wine is exceptional.

Friday, May 29, 2009


SWIG initiates its wine tastings with a flight of 5 Malbecs and a surprise winner from, get this, north of the border.

The wines were rated by 7 tasters.

(79 points, flaw) 2004 Terrazas Reserva Malbec, $20. Though reviewed positively on other websites, our bottle of Terrazas Reserva had a very mild but unpleasant musty nose and lingering bitter/musty off-flavor in the finish. A second bottle was opened; it had the same characteristics but worse. Of other flavors that could be assessed, tasters noted that this wine was somewhat faded and had a smokier, more cedary, softer profile than the three that follow, with red berry/currant fruit reminiscent of Cabernet.

It is likely that the spoilage in these bottles was due to poor storage by a retailer/wholesaler in Argentina where the wine was purchased, but SWIG would opt for a newer vintage if trying this one again.

(80 points) 2008 Alamos Malbec, $10. If the Terrazas might have been too old, the Alamos Malbec was likely too young. Tasters noted pepper and bell pepper in the nose and mouth and found the wine easy drinking and simple but also a bit green tannic and sharp. This was the least fruity wine of the bunch. A year in the bottle might calm the tannins and bring more fruit forward, or might see general mellowing but the fruit fade. On the whole this isn't one for sweating those kind of details. It is easy enough to drink and maybe easier to move on to the next one.

(81 Points) 2008 Argento Malbec, $12. Our next finisher split the tester along lines of those who like old-world wines and those preferring the more typical South American new-world style Malbec. The fruit in this lighter-bodied, slightly paler wine was repeatedly described as tart, upfront strawberry, cherry and even cranberry, backed by tobacco, minerality, and floral notes. it finished with some acid astringency. Comparing it to a Gamay in the Beaujolais Cru style is not a stretch.

SWIG can recommend Argento Malbec to those who like french wines and as a food wine -- it defines "table wine." It might match well with salmon and it has the acid to cut mild, fattier meats like duck (which no one actually eats, right?) and pork shoulder or heavy pastas. If you like a more juicy, low acid Malbec steer clear of this one.

(84 Points, QPR winner) 2008 Viu Manent Malbec, $5.50. The best value for price wine of the night was the Viu Manent. A simple bottle, the nose nevertheless inspired a wide-variety of descriptors -- earth, cherry, straw -- and the taste likewise -- dark cherries, purple fruit, mushroom, all backed by greenish tannin. Some tasters noted that this one was a bit hot and that it had a very slight off smell and taste described variously as sulphur, wet-dog and yogurt, but really a barely noticeable and less so at the price.

SWIG recommends Viu Manent Malbec to casual wine consumers looking for a decent quaff that will not punish at the register or in the glass. If you are looking be impressed, or to impressed others, move on.

(91 Points, WOTN) 2007 Blasted Church Malbec/Syrah, $36 MSRP. The run away wine of the night was the 2007 Blasted Church Malbec/Syrah from the Canadian Okanogon Valley. This wine was more highly extracted than the rest, with a bigger, more perfumed nose showing both it 60% Malbec character (plum, green pepper), as well as 40% Syrah smells (berry, spice, smoke), backed by a nice dose of slightly funky, distinctively Northwestern terroir (French for how the dirt the grapes grow in makes them smell and taste, or thereabouts). The flavors reflected the same, with a bit of the Malbec's greenish tannin covered nicely by the ripe Syrah. The wine was smooth and long and showed class all the way around. It is soft and low-acid but but restrained enough to be food friendly if you don't push the pairing. The producer recommends lamb, and a year or two of bottle rest, not to exceed 5.

SWIG recommends this bottle to anyone who is interested in good, small batch wines from obscure producers. Show up to a dinner party with this one and you'll have brought crowd-pleaser and sure conversation starter ("Malbec? from Canada?!")

(tasted, not rated) 2005 Clos De Los Siete, Monteviejo, $30. This one was popped and tasted at the end of the evening in place of the spoiled Terrazas, and is a good example of the big, luxe style Argentina can favor in more prestigious bottles. Mostly Malbec with a touch of Syrah, this one is deep, inky purple, highly-extracted. Nose: plum, violets, mocha, vanilla, spice. Taste dark fruits, vanilla and oak, long, rich and dense. This wine was fully ripe and heavily oaked. It could benefit from more time in the bottle if the fruit doesn't die before the tannins mellow a bit, but it is balanced regardless -- by no means an unrefined wine.

SWIG says this is good one if you like big, smooth ripe wine with big, sweet-tannic oakiness. If you are a fan of, say, big California cabs this is your Malbec. Serve it with a monster steak as this will road grade all foods less macho. At the moment it's on sale for 20 bucks at K&L -- solid QPR at that price.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Welcome to SWIG Tastes, blog of the the Seattle Wine Investigation Group (SWIG) .

SWIG conducts periodic blind (wine bagged and numbered) tastings of similar wines -- same varietal, same region, and/or same label -- and posts impressions and results here.

SWIG is:

1) not a group of wine experts. We are simply aesthetically-aware individuals enthusiastic about wine and food.

2) not public. Our tastings are private by invite only. But we are happy to sponsor comments and encourage subscribers.

3) not a contest among members. Each meeting we'll thoughtfully compare and score a set of wines, and might or might not recommend a "wine of the night." SWIG values the opportunity to taste a range of wines and styles, so all contributions are valued.

4) not a one man show. All members have access to the blog, which is effectively a wiki.

5) not any particular wine's, vintner's, varietal's or region's simpering obsequious lackey. We are not Philip Seymour Hofman playing assistant to the Big Lebowski, we are the Dude, or maybe Walter, or Bunny.